I have mostly come to terms with the fact that it will be very difficult for Justified or its star, Timothy Olyphant, to score nominations in any major category at a major awards show for the foreseeable future. Even with Breaking Bad riding off into the … well, wherever the hell Jesse Pinkman was speeding toward in the show’s final moments, the pool is just too deep, especially as awards show committees try to deal with the steady influx of new cable and web-only series. (“Look! We’re hip! We have Netflix!”) It’s not that it doesn’t deserve to be included, it’s just that as long as these shows continue to do nominations by the “3 shows we always include, 1 British show, 2-3 brand new shows” recipe, Justified is going to have a hard time nudging its way in.
And as much as I adore Raylan Givens (which I do, very much, for the record), he’s not exactly the complex, layered character that draws nominations at these types of events, either. He doesn’t have a big secret, he’s not particularly troubled by what he’s done or who he is or who he might be becoming, and he hasn’t undergone a dramatic “change” since we first met him in Episode 1, for lack of a better word. He’s a guy in a hat who likes to catch bad guys and occasionally put bullets in them. God love him for it, but when you boil him down to a thick, gooey paste, that’s kinda all he is. In a scenario where Jon Hamm can’t even get nominated for playing an award-bait character like Don Draper, Timothy Olyphant doesn’t stand much of a chance, no matter how well he plays Raylan. Fine. Okay. I can deal with that. I don’t particularly like it, but I can deal with it.
But can someone please nominate Walton Goggins for something?
A quick glance at Goggins’s Wikipedia page shows that he has been nominated for an Emmy or Golden Globe one (1) time for his role as Boyd Crowder on Justified, back in 2011, after the show’s first season. This is unacceptable. (Part of that has to do with the Globes’ decision to lump supporting roles for all series, mini-series, and motion pictures made for television into one category, meaning he’s been up against everyone from the Modern Family guys to Aaron Paul to whatever A-list Hollywood star HBO convinced to appear in an original film, but their lunacy in assembling their categories does not make the injustice any more tolerable.) Over the course of the show’s four seasons, Boyd Crowder has gone from a one-note goon who was supposed to die in the pilot to one of the most fascinating characters on television: a backwoods Kentucky crime boss who is just as comfortable with a rocket launcher as he with an Asimov or Keynes reference, and who has transformed from a neo-Nazi, to a cultish, Bible-thumping Man of the Lord, to a simple bar-owning, Oxy-hustling, trailer park pimp with a heart of gold. (Stolen gold, I imagine, but still.)
Yes, the writers of the show deserve a lot of credit for putting all those eloquent, snappy lines in Boyd’s mouth, and giving Goggins plenty of delicious scenery to gnaw on while he delivers them. But I really don’t know how anyone could watch the scenes from this past season where Boyd and Raylan were locked in a makeshift, hill people prison and not come away thinking one or both of them deserved at least an invite to one of the big fancy awards parties. And don’t even get me started on his very romantic, hide-the-ring-inside-a-tin-box-under-a-ton-of-money proposal to Ava, which had me feeling real human emotions like a huge dope.
It’s not even really about the competition. I mean, it is, because every nomination slot taken up by someone else is one that doesn’t go to him, and I did literally just start this post with two full paragraphs about how good shows and actors can sometimes get squeezed out in the numbers game, but even if you forget all that, it just feels like Walton Goggins should be nominated for playing Boyd Crowder, doesn’t it? Remember how I said Olyphant is hurt by the fact that Raylan Givens isn’t “a complex, layered character”? That’s exactly what Boyd is. He’s a brilliant, evil, witty, sweet, non-hillbilly-Southern-sterotype chameleon of a man, and Goggins brings all that to life in a way that jumps off the screen and into your living room, hair all lightning-struck and everything. If that can’t get you a few trophies, or at least a handful of nominations, I don’t even know what we’re doing anymore.